Have you ever thought you’d like to homeschool? Ever feel like you’re crazy for wanting to? What if your child begins school this year, and you face some unexpected changes?
Here are a few scenarios where I think homeschooling would be an excellent option to consider.
Personally, I am always a little embarrassed when I tell people I homeschool. I know I need to get over that, and I’m often surprised how they respond. Recently, my husband and I were at the pool chatting with some new neighbors. I asked what they did for a living.
“I’m the guidance counselor up at the middle school,” the wife answered. “Where are your kids in school?”
Well, this isn’t going to go well, I thought. I wonder what this Professional Educator is going to have to say about old-fashioned Mom-schooling-the-kids-in-the-kitchen?
Tentatively, I stammered, “Well, actually, I homeschooled them last year, and I think we’re going to do it again.” (Think, Jessica? You’ve unpacked three boxes of curricula, remember? Um, this thing is happening.)
But to my surprise she looked right at me. “Honestly?” she said, “Honestly, I’m glad my kids are raised. If they were in school now…I’m not sure what I would do. It’s just…different. Good for you for homeschooling.”
And yet again, I am pleasantly surprised. Pleasantly, not looked at like I have four heads, or murder cats in my basement, or hand-sew prairie dresses for church.
The fact is, homeschooling is becoming much more accepted, and more common.
In fact, a statistic was just released that in my state, more students are homeschooled than attend private schools.
Back when my mother homeschooled us, there were exactly two different options for curriculum, and one (weird) co-op within 50 miles. Now? There are free books, piano lessons, workshops, field trips, curriculum stores, websites, worksheets, PE classes, math classes, art classes…Anything in the world you or your children would need, at the touch of a button or drive across town.
Homeschooling is not weird anymore, and it’s not rare.
Now, every time I write a homeschooling post, I prepare for the tomatoes. Homeschooling is not for everyone, and I know that. At the risk of receiving the internet equivalent of toilet paper all over my minivan, I am writing this post today anyway. I am writing this post for you mama out there – debating homeschool, but thinking you might be crazy. You’re not.
Here are a few scenarios in which homeschooling should be strongly considered as a possible option.
- Your child’s teacher is struggling. When I began fifth grade, my teacher was very young, inexperienced, meek, and disorganized, with no assistant and little support. My mom picked up on this, and pulled me out of the classroom to finish the year in homeschool. To many, this would seem like a drastic, unnecessary choice. Maybe they’re right. But personally, I’m grateful she did. I hated being in that classroom, because it was so unruly and scattered. I have no doubt that I learned much more at home in that year, and was much happier. And in sixth grade, I returned to school. Sometimes, homeschooling is not a lifetime contract. It’s a case-by-case evaluation.
- Your child’s classmates are a poor influence. Here’s where I’m gonna sound like a crazy old wacko. But I believe that if a child is being severely impacted in a negative way by his peers, homeschooling is a darn good option. When my sister was in middle school, she had just a HORRIBLE boyfriend and was clearly not “thriving” during the school day. Well, my mom decided she’d just pull her out and homeschool her for the remainder of the year. At the time, we all thought Mom had completely lost it. But now? I say, good for her. And so does Jenny. If you know her, you can ask her. 🙂
- Your child has special needs. When I was a teacher, I had a student who had Tourrette’s Syndrome. His mom had chosen to homeschool him through elementary school. By middle school, he had developed a good understanding of his own learning style, he had confidence in dealing with people, and he knew what he needed to succeed. My own son has life-threatening food allergies. Many families navigate through this at school and do just fine. However, I can testify that our lives have been much less stressful in these younger years with him in a safe environment.
- You have a very bright child who is not being challenged. As a teacher, it was heartbreaking to see many of my gifted students falling by the way side, sleeping in class, bored out of their minds, or simply coasting along. I absolutely love that I can tailor my teaching to my kids’ gifts.
- Your child has a special health issue which is consuming a lot of time. A billboard in our town claims that asthma is the #1 reason kids miss school. I sure believe it! This is not the REASON we homeschool, but what a blessing it is that we can continue to work while my kids are sick, that when my son’s asthma is flaring up he doesn’t get behind! As a teacher, I had several students withdraw to work through their schoolwork at home while they managed particular issues. In most cases, you could see the look of relief on the kids’ faces as they knew they could finally catch up on their own pace!
- Your child is showing giftedness in an extra-curricular area. There is a wonderful, sweet young girl in our church who is a ROCK STAR at tennis. She practices tennis all year long, several hours a day. Homeschooling has been a wonderful option for their family, allowing her to excel (without tiring out, or burning out) in her gift.
- You have an “unconventional learner” with high-energy. (Sometimes goes by the name of: “boy.”LOL. ) Am I saying all boys or energetic kids should be homeschooled? Certainly not! Am I saying boys don’t need to learn to sit still sometimes? Never! But personally, I think kids need more activity in a day than most get at school. Kids don’t need to be in desks for seven straight hours. Some kids will thrive academically when they are allowed sufficient physical activity.
- You just want to homeschool. (For some weird, unexplained reason.) Of course you need more than just a vague desire. But a desire is a good place to start, and something worth paying attention to. I have a feeling it’s what most good homeschooling moms start with. Don’t ignore it!
IMPORTANT NOTE: Let me state the obvious here before the tomatoes start. I’d be ludicrous to suggest that homeschool is the ONLY option for these scenarios. For each scenario, there are probably a hundred workable solutions.
I am simply saying that homeschool is one. And it’s a good one, that should be hashed out between Mom and Dad, prayed over, thought over, and given the full consideration.
Personally, while it has been the most difficult thing I’ve done as a parent (next to potty-training…no lie), it has been one of the most wonderful things I’ve done as a parent. If you have an inkling you’d like to try it, don’t ignore that inkling.
I have lots more to say on this subject. Please subscribe to hear the next in the Summer Homeschooling Series:
- 5 Traits Every Homeschool Mom Should Have
- When You Shouldn’t Homeschool
- The Best Curriculum For New Homeschoolers
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